Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Finale Season, Part I

I love May. So much great stuff happens in May. But it's also bittersweet, because all my favorite shows are finishing up. That often means great TV, but it's followed by a month-long desert until the quirky-cool summer shows start.

Here's my reaction to the finales I've seen so far. WARNING: Spoilers abound!

How I Met Your Mother
This season had some spectacular episodes. I think the best one was the one with the countdown to Marshall's father's death. It was so much fun looking for the numbers and calling them out, and there was a lot of humor in the episode, and then there was that moment when you saw the 1 and knew what the countdown was for, a second before Marshall was told, and in that instant, everything changed. It echoed reality so well. Lots and lots of other episodes were far less brilliant, some forgettable or unfunny. The finale wasn't anything spectacular, except for the ending. So we know the end of next season is Barney's wedding, and we get to debate for a year whether the bride is Robin or Nora (or someone completely different).

An argument could be made that this was the best Castle episode ever. It's come a very long way from "mediocre writing, good chemistry, forgettable supporting cast" to what we got this week. The escalation regarding Beckett's mother's death was tense enough, but to find out Montgomery was the third cop! And the confrontation between Rick and Kate in her apartment, when he finally pulled their dance out of the shadows and shoved it in her face. Castle is so much like Nathan, with the humor and the goofiness and everything, that it's easy to forget what a fantastic actor he is. I loved the ending, too, when he saw the glint and the expectation would be that he'd be shot pushing her out of the way, but instead, he was too late. It avoided the cliche and was very true to their situation--he's not a trained cop, but he's had enough experience with them that he will castigate himself until the end of time for not saving her from the bullet. I was a bit shocked that he went all the way to "I love you," a moment that would have been awesome had I not been yelling "put pressure on it!" at the TV. :)

I think it would have been a lovely series finale, had Chuck not gotten a pickup for next year. I love this show. It defies all the tired old assumptions for how to develop relationships, and has kept everything fresh and exciting even while the hero/heroine got the girl/guy (a few times!), and the secrets got uncovered. They've developed a ridiculous spy family saga that nontheless holds itself up with consistency and motivation. (Okay, if we overlook that someone probably can't buy one site of a chain store.) I really like that they're going independent, with a slew of possibilities. My only caution is that the final shot and line was amusing and all, but I really don't want Morgan to be the new Intersect going forward. Season premiere had better be the Intersect getting moved back into Chuck. I love Morgan just as he is and it would feel like a bad sequel for him to move forward that way.

Hawaii Five-0
I don't really have much to say about this one. Happy for Danny, interesting conflict that the reason he came to Hawaii was his family and now Hawaii might hold him back from being with them again. A little surprised that the governor was behind everything, but not overwhelmingly so. Just as with every other episode, the chemistry and pacing held me and make me eager for next season, without having anything in particular to rave about.

I love this show so much. Another show that thrilled me by not keeping the couple apart indefinitely. I love Michael's devastation every time someone tells him Nikita is dead. I love that Birkhoff crossed over, and that Amanda is the new big bad. That was a shift that didn't suffer from being seen half a season away. :) I'm intrigued by Alex being a new antagonist for Nikita and hope we get to see how that plays out.

I know "The Hole in the Heart" wasn't the finale but I had to comment on it anyway. I can't believe how hard I cried when Vincent died, and again when they loaded his coffin. (Though it was odd that no other squinterns were there. They'd be friends, presumably.) The whole sequence was so well done, the best since Hodgins was buried by the Gravedigger. I've been bored a lot of the season. I don't care how often Hanson protests about the Moonlighting curse--when the characters and storylines stagnate, we leave anyway. Finally, we have some tension! Though I wasn't thrilled with the whole "crawling into bed with Booth" thing. Angela interpreted Brennan's look as confirmation that they did more than comfort, but if that's true, I'm going to be annoyed. Sure, do what you can to keep romantic tension by holding the hero and heroine apart, cheat if you must and give us a dream of them in bed, but then have the real thing off screen? A total ripoff. I suppose I should stay calm until this week's actual finale and see how they handle it. :)

I love the cleverness of Fringe, the sheer imagination, but way more than that, I love the relationships. Not only have they given us one set of friends, family, and colleagues in our world, they've played the ultimate "what if" game and given us some of those same relationships in the other. So removing Peter for good would upset everything way too much. The final lines of the finale intrigue me, but they upset me even more. "They don't remember him." "Of course not. He never existed. He served his purpose." Or whatever those words were. Never existed? EVERYTHING that occurred over three seasons was because of Peter's existence. Even if they mean, rather, that as far as those people are concerned, he never existed because they don't remember him, I still have trouble seeing any reality that doesn't create a paradox. Which means I'm eager for next season, which means they've done their jobs. :)

So what did you think of these and other finales so far?


vickyb said...

Bones - cried like heck when Mr. Nigel-Murry died! But agree with you that the "in bed" thing could have been done better. Total cop out there. Laughed like crazy when they all started singing "put the lime in the coconut"!!

Castle - wow. One of the best all season. Did not see that ending coming.

Chuck - I agree about Morgan. Do NOT make him the intersect! He's a good character, but he's a side-kick. He is not the intersect. Just doesn't work for me. But love that they're all going rogue. :)

Don't know about the others, but I trust you. :)

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I cried during Bones too and I'm not a big crier. 5-0 certainly left them all in trouble. Mostly I can't wait until Justified comes on again,umm, next Febuary.

MJFredrick said...

I'm with Susan on Justified. I loved the finale of Castle--made the dh watch it too, but Rizzoli and Isles had the same finale, essentially. And HIMYM was good. Looking forward to Grey's tonight. I'm v. pissed at Alex. Hawaii 5-0 has me wondering what will happen next year.

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

Vicky, we'll have to see if we revise our opinions on the bed thing after tonight. :)

Justified...yeah, I like it, and I LOVE Olyphant, but the finale was same song, second verse from the first season finale. I can't even remember exactly how it ended. Was there a cliffhanger?